Opening Bell 11.27.18

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Welcome to the new Opening Bell from The Water Coolest. We think you're gonna like it here ...

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Locked and Loeb-ed [The Water Coolest]

“It’s all for naught.” - Eeyore, and probably Dan Loeb.

When he isn’t busy preaching about the end of the world as we know it, eternal pessimist and prolific activist investor Dan Loeb is busy throwing shade at a condensed soup company. But it appears that the proxy fight between Dan Loeb’s Third Point and Campbell’s soup is finally over.

Loeb, who owns roughly 10% of Campbell’s shares, accused the maker of Chunky of “mismanagement, waste, ill-conceived strategy, and inept execution.” What began with the glass-half-empty hedgie recommending that the company replace the entire board and sell itself ended with a compromise: Third Point was awarded two seats on the board. AKA Campbell’s told Loeb “no soup for you!”

Campbell’s placated Danny Activism by allowing Third Point to appoint former Gerber CEO Kurt Schmidt and Comscore president Sarah Hofstetter to the board, expanding it to 14 directors. TP will also “have a say in choosing a CEO” (read: be allowed to be in the room while its CEO candidate is overlooked). In return the hedge fund will drop its lawsuit and pinky promise that it will stop penning strongly worded letters to the soup company.

The battle is over: Campbell Soup and activist investor reach agreement [CNN]

Allow me to reintroduce myself [The Water Coolest]

GM is finishing what the coal and steel industry started … the complete and utter economic undoing of the Rust Belt. GM will layoff some 14k employees and close multiple factories as part of a broader cost saving scheme. GM estimates the cuts will save $6B per year by the end of 2020. Note that there may be some overlap between previously announced voluntary buyouts of long-tenured employees.

Both salaried and factory workers, including 6k blue collar plant employees and 8k of the company’s “suits,” will be forced to live in a van down by the river … or at the very least find a new employer. Plants in Detroit, Ohio, and Baltimore are earmarked for closure. You know, only economic bastions that just scream “we shall overcome.” A Toronto plant will also be closed, and Justin Trudeau is already playing the I’m not mad, I’m disappointed card in true Canadian fashion. Unsurprisingly, the White House is also mad as hell.

GM to halt production at several plants, cut more than 14,000 jobs [CNBC]

The end of an era [The Water Coolest]

All good things must come to an end. Just like The Beatles and Creed before it, United Technologies, one of the last great American industrial conglomerates, is breaking up. The company plans to announce its split into three individual companies later today.

United Tech to Break Itself Into Three Companies [WSJ]

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Winning his Campbell’s fight may be worse than losing.